The 41st session of the UNECE Air Convention saw the winds blowing in the right direction for a revision of the Gothenburg Protocol – but more must be done to better protect the health of people and the environment from agricultural air pollution.
This briefing offers comprehensive advice to NGOs on how best to tackle agricultural air pollution, via the main relevant policies of the National CAP Strategic Plans and the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), with also a link to the Zero Pollution Action Plan.
In addition to regulatory measures, economic instruments are necessary for the transformation of German livestock farming. The Borchert approach to promoting animal welfare in agriculture is not sufficient to also bring about compliance with emission ceilings. We have commissioned a study to examine which instruments are best suited for this purpose. The study was presented at an international expert meeting on 31 August, where further speakers reported on examples and experiences from the implementation of taxes on food and instruments to reduce animal numbers. Members of relevant German ministries and authorities, as well as EU parliamentarians, exchanged with representatives from science, NGOs and politics from at least 11 European countries.
With the position paper "Air pollution control in German agriculture - effective ways to reduce ammonia and methane emissions" published today, the Lake Constance Foundation, together with IG-Gesunde Gülle, makes demands on German agricultural and environmental policy.
Air quality control is not only an environmental issue but also a precondition for production processes, services and quality-of-life. The Lake Constance Foundation elaborated criteria for effective air pollution control in food standards and procurement requirements of food companies and retailers.
EU laws obliges member states to slash air pollution, but a troubling new report reveals that most national governments are failing in their duty to protect public health and the environment.
The EEB report looks into member states’ action to implement the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive at the national level, and provides tools and recommendations for the way forward.
Poor air quality can make us more vulnerable to pandemics. Most Europeans living in cities are still breathing air that is dangerous to their health, confirms the European Environment Agency (EEA) in a new report released today, but governments are not doing enough to cut toxic emissions at source, campaigners warn.
Poor air quality can make us more vulnerable to pandemics. That is why taking on air pollution today will help us make the post-corona world of tomorrow healthier, safer and more resilient, and farming has a role to play.
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) calls on the Parties to the amended Gothenburg Protocol to initiate the review with the explicit objective to quickly revise and strengthen the Protocol.
This week European air quality experts are meeting in Bratislava for the European Commission’s second Clean Air Forum. While air quality in Europe is slowly improving, 90% of people living in urban areas in the EU are breathing illegal levels of air pollution, and campaigners warn national governments are doing to little, too slow.
According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), food waste has a global carbon footprint of about 8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans. If food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest carbon emitter after the US and China. The waste of milk and meat products is particularly problematic: in Germany, the meat and dairy which end up in the garbage every year account for over 6% of the country’s methane emissions.
The European Union is facing a period full of challenges and opportunities in relation to fighting climate change and protecting our environment.
President-elect Ursula von der Leyen committed to both make Europe a climate-neutral continent and to deliver environmental and health protection. A necessary step to take in order to achieve both objectives is to tackle methane emissions, which are not only accelerating climate change but are also responsible for the formation of ground-level ozone. The conference brings together policy makers, scientists and civil society representatives to exchange knowledge, explore solutions and identify opportunities to reduce methane emissions from all sources.
Please register as soon as possible and by 31 October 2019 at the latest.
The 8th conference of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI 2020) will be the meeting point for scientists from all over the world who are dealing with reactive nitrogen compounds in agriculture, industry, traffic, soil, water and air. It will be the place to exchange results, ideas and visions to improve future holistic management of reactive nitrogen in order to further reduce hunger and poverty and at the same time avoid further hazards for human health, biodiversity and environmental media. It will be a perfect opportunity to engage with important policy makers and other relevant stakeholders to stimulate further policy measures for effective integrated nitrogen management.
EU officials are still waiting to receive crucial air pollution reduction programmes from fourteen EU governments, including France, Germany, Poland and Spain.
National governments were supposed to detail how they planned to reduce emissions of harmful air pollution in ‘National Air Pollution Control Programmes’, which should have been sent to the European Commission this month. However, only 13 of the EU’s 28 Member States had filed their plans by the end of April.
Climate protection urges for addressing methane emissions, including from the agricultural sector. The global methane pledge has set the course and must be implemented by signing states now defining specific targets and measures for the sector. So far, however, there are no binding targets for methane reduction in the agricultural sector at EU level. Therefore, we discussed how agricultural methane could be addressed by EU policy.
The IPCC report published in August thrusts into the spotlight methane (CH4), the second biggest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide (CO2), capable of trapping heat at a higher rate than any other greenhouse gases. This special attention given to the previously overlooked methane, could very well mark a shift in policy and public focus from CO2 to CH4.
This year’s EU Green Week was dedicated to the ‘zero pollution ambition’ of the European Green Deal. In this context, Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V., DUH) organised a virtual partner event to underline the relevance of the SLCPs methane and black carbon for climate, clean air and health. Experts from science and from politics (EU Commission and Parliament) presented insights and their perspecitves on the topic. Two working groups with fruitful discussions have identified ways of where and how to improve policy frameworks for the reduction of the harmful gases.
All of the EU’s member states but two have failed to show how they will slash air pollution to comply with the emissions limits set out in the EU’s National Emission Ceilings Directive, a troubling new report finds. This puts in peril public health and Europe’s efforts to combat air pollution.
No reduction targets, no mandatory actions to cut methane emissions at farm level, no coherence with existing climate and air quality objectives: these are some reasons why the European Commission’s Methane Strategy will fall short.
As governments all over Europe take measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and road traffic slows down, people living in cities are experiencing fresher air. Yet the absence of diesel fumes is also exposing many urban dwellers to emissions they are not used to smelling: the one coming from the fields.
The European Commission has published its conclusions on the Fitness Check of the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive, at the Clean Air Forum in Bratislava today. The Commission backs the importance of the Directive as a major driver for improving air quality across Europe and has urged Member States to step up implementation to protect people’s health.
Farm protests have turned violent in the Netherlands after the Dutch government announced plans to cut harmful emissions from agriculture. Environmental groups have called for cooperation.
Poor air quality is putting our health at stake, reveals the European Environment Agency in a new report released today – but campaigners warn national action is still too little and too slow. Czechia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxemburg, Malta, Romania and Slovakia are failing to deliver crucial air pollution control plans.
If you live in a European city, you probably feel the air gets too thick at times – and not without reason: 9 out of 10 Europeans living in cities breathe air which is harmful for their health. Urban air pollution can be suffocating, and as city dwellers we often find ourselves dreaming of a countryside escape, to take a breath of fresh air away from traffic fumes. What we don’t know is that a big share of the pollution that makes our air hard to breathe originates right there, in the fields.
The amended Gothenburg Protocol enters into force today, marking an important step towards protecting human health, ecosystems and the climate from dangerous pollutants.
The protocol sets binding emission reduction targets for five air pollutants – sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, ammonia and fine particulate matter – to be achieved by 2020. Promoted by the United Nations, the protocol has been accepted by 19 parties, including the European Union, and 15 EU member states.
Ammonia emissions from farming are one of the most significant but least addressed sources of air pollution. Almost half of the ambient PM2.5 (the smallest and more dangerous type of particulate pollution) originates from farms, whose emissions are not monitored or regulated by the government.
Adequate information and financial assistance are key to help farmers implement much needed measures to dramatically cut ammonia emissions and keep them under control.
While emissions of most air pollutants are decreasing across the European Union, ammonia emissions from the agricultural sector continue to rise, and may hinder governments from meeting EU air pollution limits, warns the European Environment Agency.
Ammonia emissions can also lead to increased acid depositions and excessive levels of nutrients in soil, rivers or lakes, which can harm aquatic ecosystems and cause damage to forests, crops and other vegetation.